Chapter 204: Shock (Part 1)
Tie Yi and the few did not think that Shen Miao would become silly at such a critical timing. Even though Feng Tou Zhuang was not far from Long Ye, a trip to and fro on a fast horse would take two days, even without any other changes during the journey. The most important thing was that Superior One in that legend, other than the Gao residence sibling’s recount, no one had seen him before. One did not know if these was real or not and it was too irrational and naïve for Shen Miao to search for a person that one did not know if he existed.
But Shen Miao seemed to be fixated on it and instructed Tang Shu what to do for the next few days before bringing Luo Tan out. Before leave, she even instructed again that the matter of her and Luo Tan leaving could not be divulged.
After disguising, she then brought Ba Jiao, Hui Xiang, Mo Qing and Cong Yang on the road with Luo Tan.
Because all of them wore clothes from ordinary people, no one was able to recognize them. The residence of Prince Rui had always been good with disguises. Even though Tie Yi was somewhat worried, when Shen Miao was determined, even Shen Qiu would not dare to stop her, much less these servants.
Watching Shen Miao’s departing figure, Tang Shu asked, “Can Furen find the person?”
Tie Yi shook his head, “It is better to have a heart then unable to manage one’s mind. At least one is a person who value relationships.” He then turned his head and instructed the rest, “The matter of Furen leaving the residence must be concealed well. If it leaks, you will bear the consequences.”
In the horse carriage, Luo Tan looked at Shen Miao and said, “Youngest Biao Sister, why don’t you sleep for a while? These few days you have not rested well and since there would be no stop in this journey, it is better for you to rest a while.”
Shen Miao’s heart was somewhat chaotic. The carriage was bumpy and even though she had no mood to rest, what Luo Tan said made sense. If she did not rest well then it would be bad if matters later would be delayed, thus she closed her eyes for a while for a nap.
She did not know why but this nap was especially long. Shen Miao left in the afternoon but she was awakened by someone else. When she opened her eyes, she saw Luo Tan staring at her, “Youngest Biao Sister, wake up. We have arrived.”
Shen Miao followed Luo Tan off the carriage and it was almost evening of the second day. The horse carriage stopped at a desolated area and one was not sure if there was no one taking care that the branches were so dense that it almost obscured the skies. Even it was in the evening, with the weather in the sixth month, there would be sunlight but it was so dark that there was no heat at all. It made one feel a strangely fearful.
Mo Qing and Cong Yang also frowned. Cong Yang said, “What kind of ghostly place is this? There is no one around at all.”
“One heard that this was previously an embroidery village and they were best in embroidering a type of phoenix pattern but afterwards the embroidery village fell and it was abandoned.” Ba Jiao was one who would always enquire about things so she immediately explained.
Luo Tan looked around and took out the map that was sewn on the handkerchief, “This map indicated that there should be a small path here but there is no such path.”
Everyone came over to take a look. Indeed, the map clearly indicated that there was a small path in front of Feng Tou Zhuang and by following the small path, there would be a field and a house.
Much less mentioned about the house and field, there were no signs of the small path at all.
“How can there not be even a single person? It seemed that no one came here for a long time.” Luo Tan said, “Could it be that the grass few tall and blocked the path so we could not see it?”
Mo Qing and Cong Yang looked around and shook their head, “It would not be so.”
Ba Jiao and Hui Xiang took a look. Hui Xiang said, “This forest is just too big. Afterwards when the sun sets, it would be easy to get lost in the forest and perhaps there are wild beasts. We are also not familiar with the roads here. Furen, what do you think?”
The most important thing for them, as servants, was to ensure the safety of Shen Miao. Even if one was unable to find the Superior One who could change fates, Shen Miao could not fall into danger. The Mo Yun Army was good in dealing with enemies but they were not good in walking in this unfamiliar dark forest at night. Actually Hui Xiang and the rest did not care much about the Superior One that Luo Tan mentioned. To their perspective, Luo Tan was too curious and overly naïve thus everyone’s heart did not move much.
It was only Mo Qing who listened to Shen Miao’s orders unquestioning. Hui Xiang and the rest did not understand Shen Miao but Mo Qing followed Shen Miao from the beginning. When in Ming Qi, Shen Miao’s situation was even more precarious but she could walk out of such a difficult situation. Every decision that Shen Miao made had a special role in the future so Mo Qing had never doubted it at all.
Shen Miao looked at the map and asked Luo Tan, “From what Ben Yue said, after that pair of siblings enter Feng Tou Zhuang, they kept going southwards. Correct?”
Luo Tan said, “Yes. But she also said that there is a small path at the south side and that path heads southwards. There is no path here.”
“Let’s go.” Shen Miao said.
Everyone was startled and Cong Yang asked, “Furen, where are we going?”
Shen Miao gestured for Luo Tan to take the compass out and said, “Walk towards the south.”
“But there is no path at all.” Hui Xiang was extremely surprised, “If it is an incorrect road then isn’t the beginning wrong?”
Shen Miao took a glance at Hui Xiang, “Since we are already here and cannot differentiate which route is right or wrong, then just try it. There is a direction towards it. Since that pair of siblings mention to keep heading south, the direction is consistent. No matter where the path is, the very most we can search all directions for it. If there is no other ways, trying is also a method.” She took the compass and started walking forward.
Everyone remained stunned for a moment before Luo Tan said, “Youngest Biao Sister, wait for me.”
Ba Jiao was at all smiles, “Lets quickly catch up.”
The few of them followed.
The sun was almost setting and this forest became dark and dim due to the dense foliage. After the sun set, it was pitch dark. Fortunately Cong Yang had brought along enough torch and they could continue forward after they were lit.
It just that in the entire journey, the branches were all the same and at the end, one was unable to differentiate the scenes before and after and everything seemed to look the same. Because it was so cold, that it did not seemed to be in the sixth month. It was still alright for Mo Qing and Cong Yang but the females felt somewhat chilly.
Shen Miao and the few of them had brought along cloaks and at this moment, they could not help but tighten their hold of them. Vaguely, there were some wild beast sounds. Mo Qing, Cong Yang and the rest stopped and their hands slowly went to their swords on their waist.
Hui Xiang said softly and lowly, “It’s sound of wolves. There are actually wolves here.”
“Wolves is afraid of fire.” Shen Miao said, “Everyone should hold two lit fire torches. Wolves are a very cunning beast. If there are packs of wolves in the forest then when they see so much fire, they would think that we have many people and dared not come close.”
Hui Xiang was startled and even Ba Jiao’s round face revealed a surprised look, “Furen, you even know the methods to deal with wolves?” Mo Yun Army contained people from the pugilist world, it was not strange for one to know about it but Shen Miao was a Young Lady of an official family, so it was just too unusual for her to know about these matters. Even if the Shen family was of military lineage, these actions were just overly familiar. It instead seemed that she was from a veteran hunting family.
Shen Miao smiled, “One only heard it from others.”
At the beginning when Wan Yu had to marry the XiongNu, one heard that there were many packs of wolves at the XiongNu’s side thus Shen Miao became worried and searched of ways to chase away wolves for Wan Yun. She had thought to let Wan Yu try them in the future but it was just unfortunate.
A flash of pain appeared in her eyes and when Shen Miao looked up again, it became calm as she said, “Continue heading forward.”
“Still head forward?” Hui Xiang said, “Furen, we have walked for a few shichen (1 shichen = 2 hours). Did you not realize that we are going rounds on the same spot and have not went forward. Just one we have walked on that path for a few times and if this continues, one fear that one will not be able to walk to the end in the entire night.”
Cong Yang also said, “Correct. Furen, even if one were to continue walking, one cannot just walk on aimlessly, otherwise it can be said that we are making a mistake after another mistake.”
Shen Miao sighed for a moment and looked towards Luo Tan, “The compass kept on pointing south?”
Luo Tan nodded her head quickly, “Yes, we are definitely not walking in the wrong direction but this scene seemed familiar.”
“It is obviously not the wrong direction but the scene is exactly the same. This is even stranger.” Shen Miao said, “If something was abnormal then it must be demonic. If one walks the incorrect route then we can just turn around the same way and would still be trapped and unable to get out. It is better to continue walking on. But what you said is correct, what was seen was the exact same scene and even the trees look the same thus it inevitably misled people. If it was truly the same then it would make one suspicious but if it is fake, it only serve to confuse.”
She took out a handkerchief from her sleeves and made Luo Tan take another out one. She covered her eyes with the handkerchief and said, “How about this? In order not to let one eyes be misled, one would not see anything and follow the compass and see where would one walk to. I and Older Biao Sister will cover our eyes while Ba Jiao and Hui Xiang watch the compass in front while Cong Yang and the rest follow behind. We will try it this way.”
Mo Qing was somewhat hesitant, “Furen, really do it like this?”
“I know what you all want to say.” Shen Miao covered her eyes but her tone was unquestionable, “Honestly speaking, I too do not know what result would there be to carry on walking like this but Xie Jing Xing do not have that much time. One more step we take mean an additional one more possibility. If we do not even walk, then there would no change in the result.”
“Yes. Yes. Yes.” Luo Tan quickly said, “No matter what, one have to try it out. It is useless to speak about it thousands of times. It is actually more practical to do it oneself.”
Hui Xiang was somewhat surprised. She felt that she really did not understand this Furen. At the beginning when she married over to the residence of Prince Rui, the subordinates of Mo Yun Army also secretly took a peek and felt that this Furen had a calm and steady temperament and was not that enthusiastic towards Master. But one could not say that she was unfeeling as she could take a risk of entering and walking for an entire night in this pitch dark forest for Master. She looked like an intelligent person and could analyse the pros and cons sensibly but this time was naïve enough to believe the legend of changing fate and even use such a stupid method.
Hui Xiang could not understand Shen Miao’s contradictory actions but it was not as complicated as she had imagined it to be. At critical juncture, people would unconsciously expose their true self and during urgency, one would not be guided by rationality or intelligence but by instinct.
At this moment, wisdom could not compete with the current urgent feeling.
Mo Qing silently followed behind Shen Miao and walked forward. Hui Xiang and the few paused and finally did not say anything more and continued following.
These matters in Feng Tou Zhuang were not known to the people in Long Ye. The officials only knew that Prince Rui was injured during the hunt but no one knew how the injuries were like and naturally no one dared to ask. Xie Yuan’s position in Long Ye’s court was very special. Some people wholeheartedly wish for his death while others had bet their whole family lives on him and were praying that nothing happened to him.
No matter how much doubt everyone had in their hearts, the residence of Prince Rui was like a metal bucket, not a glimpse of wind was revealed. Seeing that one did not know of the situation, everyone was unable to sleep due to the itch in one’s heart but nothing could be enquired.
Those who were restless, continued to be restless. Those who were rejoicing at the misfortune, continue to rejoice. No one was able to help the other.